TOO many Christian people take a vacation from their religion as well as from their labors when they go into the country, and pattern themselves after the invited guest who had bought a piece of ground and was going to see it, praying, therefore, to be excused from the banquet.
It is interesting, therefore, to note a recent festivity at a New England country-seat, when a beautiful new oratory was solemnly opened with a service of benediction and a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Bishop of the Diocese approving.
On Friday, June 17th, being the feast of St. Alban, the Oratory of Our Lady, adjoining “Dunworth,” the country home of Mr. and Mrs. William Viall Chapin of Pomfret, Conn., was set apart as a place of prayer by the Rev. William Harman Van Allen, D.D., rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston, the Ven. Lucius M. Hardy, rector of Pomfret, assisting.
The little chapel is beautifully fitted for divine worship, under the direction of the well-known Church architect, Mr. Howard Hoppin of Providence, R.I., and will hold twenty-five persons. The altar is deeply recessed, and is adorned with antique ornaments collected in various parts of Europe. A shrine of the Blessed Virgin is on the Epistle side and one of St. Raphael the Archangel on the Gospel side. The vaulted ceiling bears the legend “Domus Orationis,” many times repeated, in the Florentine fashion. The prevailing tint is blue, in honor of the Blessed Virgin; and the little sacristy adjoining is fitted with all things necessary for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, as well as for the performance of the other rites of the Church. A special service of blessing preceded the celebration of the Holy Communion, the immediate household and a few close friends being present. The proper Collect, Epistle, and Gospel appointed for the consecration of a church were used, with memorial of St. Alban the Martyr.
Pictures of many saints adorn the walls, and among them it was good to see Blessed William Laud the martyr of Canterbury, and his royal master, who had learned from him how to endure even unto the end.
The occasion also had a special interest in that it was the tenth anniversary of the ordination to the diaconate of the officiating priest.
The gracious hospitality of “Dunworth” is so often extended to the clergy that its master and mistress may frequently enjoy the special privilege of a domestic celebration, the Bishop having authorized this at times not conflicting with the service in the parish church.
Mr. Chapin is a graduate of St. Paul’s School and of Trinity College, and Mrs. Chapin is an associate of the Community of St. John Baptist.
There are many Church people who could emulate this good example if they desired to; and we doubt not that the blessings drawn down by prayers and intercessions offered before such a household altar would avail much for the advance of the Faith in our land.
From The Living Church, July 9, 1904, pp. 357-358.